1 earthworm per shovel (sharpshooter)

jtguitarApril 29, 2011

Well me and my daughter did some Research today and found out a few things about our soil.

After digging in different spots of our thin front patchy st Augustine yard we found 1 earthworm per shovel if we were lucky.

Another thing I noticed Is that the soil was compacted and also that it did not have the rich earth smell to it.

Also the was was hard to break up .

Three things I need to wor on any ideas?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If compost is recommended , where can I purchase some? I know thy we have several recycling centers in our town but don't know if that kind would be good. Thanks

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 11:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Do you have trees in the yard? What do you do with the leaves in the fall? What do you do with your grass clipping?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 2:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have 6 pecan trees and 1 mesquite in my front yard.

Every year before spring I rake all the leaves and bag them. I then throw them away.

As far as grass clippings I've never bagged them. Before spring all leaves, pecans , empty shells and all debri gets raked and thrown away.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 2:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have you ever thought about composting them, if you have the room, or even shredding them and leaving them down?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 3:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I have been on a 100% organic program since 2002 and don't know if I have any worms. Don't fret about that. You are on the right track.

I take it from the pecans and mesquite that you live in Texas. I can sympathize and I can help. You will have to do some work and spend a few bucks.

Softening the soil
Get an Ortho hose end sprayer. Fill it with generic baby shampoo. Turn it on and adjust the red dial until you see the spray coming out foamy. Then spray the entire lawn. You are not trying to water the lawn, just get soap onto it. Then water the lawn. I always recommend using an oscillating type sprinkler. The new Turbo types are much better than the non-turbos. Water that soap in for as long as it takes to half fill a tuna can placed in the grass. For me that takes 4 hours. If you get ANY runoff before you get the can half filled, stop immediately because your soil is saturated. Let it rest for a half hour and continue watering. If it keeps running off, then stop and attack it again in a few days. You should not need to soap it again for 2 weeks. Apply the soap every 2 weeks for 2 months and your soil will be softer than you can imagine. What the soap does is allow the water to penetrate deeper into the soil. The deeper penetration allows the beneficial soil fungi to repopulate. Then when you water the soil will become very soft. After a few days to a week it will dry out at the surface and become very hard underfoot. This is NOT compaction. It is hard soil. It is natural, though. Just like a sponge it becomes soft when wet and hard when dry. Normal.

If you want to improve your soil and lawn to a new level, consider applying corn meal (or whatever you can find at the feed store) on a monthly basis at an elevated rate. Elevated means on the order of 40 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

And since you said you were new to this, here is the basic 1-2-3 of lawn care as collected from these pages over the years.

  1. Water deeply and infrequently. Deeply means at least an hour in every zone, all at once. Infrequently means monthly during the cool months and no more than weekly during the hottest part of summer. If your grass looks dry before the month/week is up, water longer next time. Deep watering grows deep, drought resistant roots. Infrequent watering allows the top layer of soil to dry completely which kills off many shallow rooted weeds.

  1. Mulch mow at the highest setting on your mower. Most grasses are the most dense when mowed tall. Bermuda, centipede, and bent grasses are the most dense when mowed at the lowest setting on your mower. Dense grass shades out weeds and uses less water when tall. Dense grass feeds the deep roots you're developing in 1 above.
  1. Fertilize regularly. I fertilize 4 times per year using organic fertilizer. Which fertilizer you use is much less important than numbers 1 and 2 above.
    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 3:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Being inexperienced in lawn care I was always afraid of mowing over them and leaving them down as compost. The grass always appeared to be burried underneath.

Now I will do the exact opposite and hope for better results.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 4:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks dchall , I'll keep you posted!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 6:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Any recommendations on where I can buy the hose end sprayer and the turbo oscillating sprinkler?

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 7:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

1 earthworm per shovel full of soil tells me you have some organic matter in your soil because earthworms need organic matter to live on. You, like many people everywhere, rake up and dispose of a very good source of organic matter, those tree leaves. That you are, apparently, mulch mowing and recycling those grass clippings is most likey the source of what OM yuou do have, so now it is time to mulch mow those tree leaves.
If you do that you will notice your soil starting to smell better, and increase in the number of earthwormes, and other soil dwelling insects, and less compaction. Without having some idea (south somewhere because of the type of grass) no one could direct you to where there might be some compost available.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 7:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I live in Abilene tx.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 12:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What soaps (shampoos) do is reduce the surface tension of water so it will flow into places water with no soap will go. It is a temporary and limited use means of getting water into a soil. Keep in mind that soaps also kill off bacteria so too much is detrimental to the Soil Food Web.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 7:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ltruett(Zone, 9 Houston)


What benefits are you seeing using the baby shampoo? You have been using organic methods for years so I was wondering how it has helped at this point?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 4:01PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Thatch Problem // Missing Opportunity to Aerate
I live in zone 5b and have approximately 1" of...
Objective Proof for Organic vs. Non-organic?
I have always been in the camp of, "Feed the soil,...
Timothy vs Alfalfa
I mistakenly applied Timothy pellets to my lawn instead...
beneficial nematodes for grubs and cool weather
Location: Northern VA. Found grubs after aerating....
Liquid soil conditioners
Two particular companies have websites that sell liquid...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™